It's a nightmare scenario, to be sure. After spending years building your career as a licensed physician, dentist, nurse, accountant, or other working professional, you receive notice from the state licensing that someone has filed a complaint against you for alleged wrongdoing, and your license is now under investigation. Even worse, the complainant claims to have video evidence to prove their claim. The question to ask is, can that video be used as evidence against you in a license defense investigation or hearing?
The short answer is yes—but that doesn't mean the video evidence can be used as conclusive proof, or that a good attorney can't find ways to address it. Let's explore this issue further.
How Video Evidence May Be Obtained or Used
The fact is, we live in a world inundated with cameras, which is why so many criminal acts are "caught on tape." There are many ways that complainants and investigators alike may procure video footage to support their claims. For example:
- Someone might secretively activate their camera phone to capture your actions, then send the footage to the licensing board.
- An investigator may request security video footage at the location where your alleged offense took place.
- If your alleged wrongdoing involves a crime (e.g., DWI), the arresting officer may have dash-cam or body-cam footage of you.
Unfortunately, video footage can work very much against you in a license defense investigation because state licensing boards don't have to prove anything "beyond a reasonable doubt" to invoke discipline against you. Most licensing boards use the "preponderance of evidence" standard, which means they must only prove that you are 51 percent likely to be guilty of the offense. If the video footage appears to show you committing the offense, that footage will likely exceed the preponderance of the evidence standard.
How a Good License Defense Attorney Can Address Video Footage
While video footage can be particularly hurtful to your case, a good license defense attorney will know how to critically review the footage and may be able to point out issues that cast doubt on its authenticity or relevance. Here are a few examples:
- The footage may be grainy, making it difficult to identify you as the individual shown in the video.
- The footage may have been edited, or parts of it may be missing, which could change its meaning.
- The footage may have been taken out of context, making it appear as though you did something wrong when you didn't.
- If the complainant submits the video, there may be evidence that the complainant had a vendetta against you and deliberately tried to lure you into wrongdoing to capture you on video. (I.e., entrapment.) If your attorney can provide evidence of this fact, this may be sufficient to discount the video—and, by extension, the complaint against you.
Can Video Footage Help Your Case?
Yes, it can. Just as video could be used to demonstrate your guilt, it can also be used to prove your innocence. For example, if a complainant falsely claims you verbally or sexually abused her in your clinic, if you have security footage that shows what actually happened between you, your attorney could use this to disprove the complaint.
The bottom line: If video footage is introduced as evidence in an investigation against your license, don't despair. With the help of a good professional license defense attorney like Joseph D. Lento, you can still provide a compelling defense that can help you achieve a more favorable outcome with the licensing board. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today.